The air is cool this morning. Autumn just whispers. A little early, it seems to me. A lovely few weeks of monsoon broke us out of our months of triple digit drought. The farms are half fallow for lack of water. On my little urban farm, the rain has brought forth abundance and we are just nearly tired of zucchini. Still, fried zucchini and early pumpkin beer sounds good today. I am grateful we do not rely solely on ourselves for food as I thumb through my depression era cookbook. We are eating well from our gardens. The herbs are lovely and fragrant, and though the produce is all slow to mature this year, we are now eating peppers and tomatoes and calabacitas.
The chicken’s yard is filled with birds of all kinds, apparently enjoying the new chicken feed. The egg eater was discovered and went to a chicken swap where she is going to live in a lovely coop with three other roommates. We now have eggs again.
Many years ago I wrote a post about the pros of urban farming. I think of that post now as I sit on my front porch watching the early morning world go by. The morning glories have run wild and made the porch art. Though I do want goats- many cities do allow them, perhaps eventually Pueblo will too- I see the many pros to living here in town. I have abundant space to garden. My garden on ten acres was smaller than the space I have here. I can go up and out and raised and potted and there is much more land to make into gardens and orchards. One does not need as much space as one might think. I have the benefit of not having crop dusters flying over my little organic homestead.
I have chickens and their hilarious antics and fresh eggs. I have local farmers for milk should I choose.
Today I am making soap for our new shop and for ourselves. I canned seven pints of fresh, organic peaches from the farmer’s market and seven jars of spicy pickles from my own garden. Little by little the root cellar fills. Soon Doug will be chopping wood for the wood stove. My favorite reading spot has oil lamps and candles and the power could go out and I would go on reading.
Homesteading, I have learned over a decade of experience, is not about self sufficiency, but rather it is a village ideal. One cannot possibly do everything themselves. I need sweet corn from the local farmer, organic meat from my friends’ ranch if I choose. They might get medicine or take a canning class from me.
Here in town, I can ride my bike to the newest coffee shop to pick up fair trade coffee and hit the library for a homesteading book. I can grow food and have chickens and even a farm dog. Old arts like quilting and sewing and crocheting are making a comeback. Homesteading is not insistent on the country, but rather a space in one’s heart for simplicity and old ways.
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You nailed it. That old notion of homesteading–going it alone and being entirely self-sufficient is both impractical and unnecessary. Our ancestors may have had to do it that way, but being part of instead of apart from is not only easier, it’s emotionally and physically healthier. Not to mention comforting.
What a delightful post – I agree with you – it is more about community and the good old bartering system that creates harmony. I really admire your canning skills – it’s not something I have ever tried here in the UK. And your quilt is simply beautiful – what a charming spot to read.
Oh you must try! It is quite relaxing and the results are delicious!
As I said earlier, it is gratifying to read that it still works for some of us. I was actually more self sufficient when I lived in town without much garden space. It has been very difficult for the past many years, and I am just getting back to it. Modern culture is so contrary to self sufficiency. I really wish I could live with fruit trees that I planted decades ago. Starting over again . . . and again is not easy.